Planned Parenthood Spring 2020 Walnut Creek Escort Program

Planned Parenthood is looking for volunteers to be escorts at their Walnut Creek Clinic.

If you are interested in volunteering, contact Planned Parenthood at volunteer@ppnorcal.org

California NOW Voter Guide

Class of 2020 Federal and State Endorsements

Click the link below for a list of Candidate Endorsements

Class of 2020 Endorsements

Honoring African American Feminists Throughout History

Statement by NOW President Toni Van Pelt and Vice President Christian F. Nunes

02.01.2020
WASHINGTON, D.C.–Each February, the National Organization for Women commemorates Black History Month to honor the lives of African Americans who have shaped our nation and its culture. Our country and our communities would not be the same without the efforts of people of color, who work tirelessly in the face of oppression.

African American women have been fierce advocates for gender equality for centuries, from suffragists Anna Julia Cooper and the founders of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority to civil rights leaders Ida B. Wells and Sojourner Truth. In more recent years we’ve witnessed history as Nevada State Senator Pat Spearman kicked off the modern Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) movement and Virginia Delegates Jennifer D. Carroll Foy and Hala Ayala championed the ERA in Virginia, which just became the historic 38th state to ratify.

Thanks to these women and many others, progress has been made, but we must never underestimate the insidious racism that continues to plague our country in the form of discrimination in employment, health care, housing, the justice system and voting rights. That is why NOW is co-hosting our Racial Justice Summit with U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) on Feb.10th, which aims to create conversation about the intersection of gender, health, economics, violence and race.

Black History Month highlights the importance of intersectional feminism. Black lesbian civil rights activist and feminist Audre Lorde famously said, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are different from my own.” As firm believers of this approach to advocacy, NOW is committed to breaking down the barriers to gender and racial equality that have restricted women of color for centuries.

Contra Costa NOW Members at the Women’s March 2020

Contra Costa NOW members at the Women’s March 2020

Contra Costa NOW 2020 Board Members

Below is a list of our 2020 board members:

President: Jeanette Cole
Vice President: Erika Maslan
Vice President – Membership: Nancy Bocanegra
Vice President – Action, Karen Severud
Treasurer: Kathy DeFabio
State Board Rep: Jeanette Cole
Event Chairs: Phyllis Bratt & Lauren Babb
Board Adviser: Katia Senff

 

College Campus Safety Tool Kit

Statistically, women are at an elevated risk of sexual violence from ages 18-24. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience forms of rape or sexual assault. Sadly, we also know that women also face an increased risk of sexual assault on a college campus.

 

As a part of NOW’s commitment to eradicating all violence against women, Contra Costa NOW is providing 7 Point Safety Tool Kit for female college students. 

The following is a detailed guide on how to stay safe on campus: 

 

  • Add the number for local campus police to your cell phone contacts. Make it one of your “favorites” or program it into speed dial for easy access.
  • Exchange daily class schedule and important phone numbers with your roommates in case of emergency.
  • Always travel with someone else, especially in deserted, not well-lit parts of the campus at night. Look into your college’s campus night shuttle, if provided.
  • Stay alert when walking around campus when going places alone, like to class or the dorms. Only keep one headphone in and take notice of the “blue light” campus emergency phones if necessary.
  • To avoid cases of drug-facilitated sexual assault, guard your drink and party smart. Do not accept drinks from strangers or prepare them yourself.
  • Make sure to charge your phone before going out and keep a portable charger handy in case you need to make an emergency call.
  • If you find yourself in an unsafe situation and need to protect yourself, carry a small container of pepper spray on your keychain. Be sure to check your state’s legal guidelines before buying one. Carrying a personal alarm on your keychain is also a helpful precaution to take. 
  • If you happen to become a victim of sexual assault, call 911, campus police, family, a trusted friend, or the national sexual assault hotline (1-800-656-HOPE) for help and assistance. The hotline can also provide a list of hospitals so you can seek medical attention.

Download our Stay Safe on Campus Tool Kit.

Contra Costa NOW Members at the National Conference

Jeanette and Erika attend the NOW National Conference

Abortion Bans Don’t Work. Here’s Why.

By Anahita Ghajarrahimi

Abortion bans do not prevent the one thing they are supposed to: abortion. Instead, they restrict women from making decisions about their health. By banning abortion, women lose legal access to safe and effective abortions, which in turn threatens their health – the opposite of protecting life.

Contra Costa NOW believes that restricting access to abortion threatens women’s self-autonomy and ability to make decisions about their own bodies. State-level restrictions on abortion disproportionately affect groups like low income women and women of color; the intersections of oppression in these demographic groups build on one another, making access to legal and safe abortions much more difficult (3). 

Brief historical background of Abortion Rights

Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that declared abortion as constitutional right, affirmed that women have the right to privacy and that the state cannot interfere with a decision between a doctor and woman (2). However, through the 1992 Supreme Court decision on Planned Parenthood v. Casey, states could restrict and define how much of access women have to abortion, as long as there is no “undue burden” on the woman; the effects of this decision are increasingly seen today.

 

Current situation in state-level legislative policy on abortion

Most states allow abortions until 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy, but recently several states have passed early abortion bans that vary in their limitations on when a woman can get an abortion (1). The most extreme case is Alabama; abortion is only allowed if the woman’s health is at risk, with no exception for rape or incest. Other cases include Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia, who recently passed laws that ban abortion after 6-8 weeks, and Utah and Arkansas, banning abortion after 18 weeks. Contra Costa NOW deeply condemns these states who have severely restricted women’s access to safe and legal abortions. 

 

Communities of color are more at risk

Race and socioeconomic status disproportionately affect women’s ability to get an abortion because abortion access stems from greater access to healthcare. Women of color and low income women are among demographic groups that are under significant attack from restrictions on abortion; the Hyde Amendment of 1976 bans those who receive federally-funded health insurance, including Indian Health Services and Medicaid, from using their benefits for abortion costs – only cases of direct risk to women’s health and pregnancy due to rape and incest are allowed. The Hyde Amendment also unfairly affects women of color because of the systematic links between income inequality, racism, and sexism; for instance, 30% of Black women and 24% of Hispanic women are enrolled in Medicaid as opposed to 14% of white women (4). Thus, women of color, who are more enrolled in Medicaid than white women, face greater challenges in obtaining access to abortions. The current early abortion bans only increase the difficulty for these communities because the greater time restraints on when a women can legally get an abortion build on already-existing challenges of healthcare access (6).

 

What can we do to help? 

In California, women have the choice to obtain an abortion up until fetal viability (usually 24 weeks), and post-viability abortions are still performed if the mother’s health, life, or overall well-being is at risk (5). However, other states do not offer the same reproductive rights. Speaking out against bans and uplifting those sharing their stories with abortion helps remove the stigma around the procedure. Donating directly to local, grassroots organizations is a monetary way to help out these states affected by the ban.

  1. The Yellowhammer Fund – Alabama
  2. SisterSong – Georgia
  3. Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund – Mississippi
  4. Gateway Women’s Access Fund – Missouri
  5. Preterm – Ohio
  6. Access Reproductive Care – Southeast

 

Planned Parenthood has begun the #BansOffMyBody campaign in order to gather support across the country to fight back against the recent bans. They plan on attacking these bans both in the courts and the streets. Planned Parenthood Northern California’s Director of Public Affairs, Lauren Babb, states that the organization “will always be there for our patients. We will fight to ensure that patients – and everyone in this country – can still access health care, no matter what.”

 

Contra Costa NOW champions those voicing their support for access to safe and legal abortions, especially for community members who face more challenges gaining healthcare access due to racial or socioeconomic status. Here are more ways to fight back against the abortion bans: 

  1. Go to https://www.istandwithpp.org/call/house-nobans to call your U.S. representative and ask them to co-sponsor a resolution in support of protecting access to reproductive health care. 
  2. Donate to The National Organization for Women to help us in the fight for greater reproductive justice.
  3. Take action via one of our mobilization campaigns here

 

Sources:

Gordon, Mara, and Alyson Hurt. “Early Abortion Bans: Which States Have Passed Them?” NPR, NPR, 5 June 2019, www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/06/05/729753903/early-abortion-bans-which-states-have-passed-them.

“History of Abortion.” National Abortion Federation, prochoice.org/education-and-advocacy/about-abortion/history-of-abortion/.

“Mobilize for Reproductive Justice.” National Organization for Women, now.org/nap/reproductive-justice/.

“Hyde Amendment.” Planned Parenthood Action Fund, www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/issues/abortion/hyde-amendment.

Rodriguez, Ambrosio. “Understanding Abortion Laws in California.” The Rodriguez Law Group, 4 June 2018, www.aerlawgroup.com/understanding-abortion-laws-in-california/.

“The Hyde Amendment.” National Network of Abortion Funds, 13 Jan. 2017, abortionfunds.org/hyde/.

Contra Costa NOW 2019 Garden Party — Member Awards

 

 

 

 

Founding member Sally Johnson (left) and Lesley Hunt, 40 year member were honored at the June 8, 2019 Garden Party.

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